October 1, 2012
He knew what was at stake. “My people are dying and I am waiting my turn,” he wrote. Maya knew that powerful forces were at work maligning his country.
The 33-year-old journalist placed his own life in danger on several occasions because he wanted the world to know the truth about the real cause of suffering afflicting the Syrian people. Despite receiving death threats for his critical reporting, he courageously returned to the line of duty time and again. Maya, from Syria, was said by colleagues to be painfully concerned by the suffering of ordinary people. He wanted their truth, their voices to be heard.
The day he was killed was typical of his spirit. When two powerful bombs rocked the centre of the capital, Damascus, on Wednesday morning, Maya and his Press TV colleagues were first on the scene, as Syrian army forces fought gun battles with the perpetrators. He was fatally wounded while doing his job of “getting the story” and factually reporting for the Syrian public and the wider world.
While the Western media would misreport, often from remote offices in the region, on how the Syrian army was bombarding civilian districts and shooting on innocent protesters, Maya would take great personal risk to report on the ground from places like Aleppo. His reports were real, not second-hand versions from un-named “activists” based in Britain and other countries. Crucially, his brave journalism provided a corrective view of what was really happening in Syria.
He knew what was at stake. “My people are dying and I am waiting my turn,” he wrote. Maya knew that powerful forces were at work maligning his country. He knew that Western governments, the US, Britain and France, were fuelling a covert war of aggression in his country by arming foreign mercenaries, who for the past 18 months have unleashed atrocities and carnage on the Syrian people. Yet all the while, these Western governments and their powerful media organizations have turned reality on its head by insisting that the violations are being committed by the Syrian government against its people and the “rebels”.
Maya knew that regional powers like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel are also colluding in the foreign conspiracy to destroy his country and to replace the government of President Bashar al-Assad with an entity that would serve the interests of foreign powers, not the interests of his people. A professed Christian, Maya knew that the sabotage of his country was based on the tactic of whipping up sectarian fears between Muslims and Christians, to wreck centuries of peaceful coexistence and tolerance, to replace that with factionalism and tribalism that would best serve the interests of foreign powers.
The conspiracy against Syria is real. It is not just rhetoric plied by the Assad government. The people of Syria have been living under a foreign-backed reign of terror since March 2011. Yet, the Western media, as well as those backed by the Saudi and Qatari monarchs, Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, have indulged in the most fantastic fabrications and illusions.
Some 20 journalists have been killed so far in Syria’s violence, most of them Syrian nationals. Many others have been kidnapped or wounded. Most of the attacks have been carried out by Western-backed mercenaries against Syrian journalists who are deemed to telling the truth about the Western-backed terrorism in their country. Saudi and Qatari-backed satellite platforms have even blocked Syrian news channels in a bid to choke the truth and prevent the world from understanding what is really going on in Syria.
Month after month, the barrage of lies and distortions from the New York Times, CNN, Financial Times, BBC, the Independent, Guardian, the Irish Times, to name a few, has served the political agenda of “regime change” by the Western governments in Syria.
Massacres have been blamed on government forces whenever they were perpetrated by Western and Arab-backed mercenaries; car bombs in cities causing the deaths of hundreds have been misattributed to Machiavellian psy-ops by Assad’s military intelligence; CNN and Al Jazeera have even engaged in fabricating atrocities and falsely claiming they were carried out by the Syrian army; the BBC has removed footage that clearly shows violations by the so-called rebels.
Maya Naser was well aware of the disservice to the truth and to his country that foreign powers and their supposed independent news media are engaging in. He knew that the bigger picture was one of twisting world public opinion to perversely blame the victims of violence and to champion the perpetrators. He knew that this veil of lies and demonization was setting the scene for illegal foreign military intervention in his country, to “liberate” the Syrian people from the very violence that these foreign powers have unleashed, criminally, on his country.
Even reporting his death this week, the Western media could not find the integrity to tell the truth. The Guardian, BBC, CNN, Reuters and Irish Times, for example, all reported that Maya was killed by “a sniper”. Invariably, they attributed the source “according to Press TV”. Using innuendo, these media went on to remind the reader that Press TV is an Iranian channel, and that Iran is a supporter of the Assad government in Syria. None of these media would prominently report that Maya had received death threats, that these death threats were issued by Western-backed mercenaries, nor that his death was finally caused by foreign militants that have been infiltrated into Syria to commit acts of terrorism. No, these media would only report that he was killed “by a sniper” – thus once again shrouding the nature of conflict in Syria in mystery.
The day before Maya was killed, US President Barack Obama regaled the United Nations General Assembly in New York with his usual act of sanctimony and pious words. The man who secretly draws up weekly assassination lists for drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, lectured the assembly on the rights and virtues of free speech and freedom of information. “True democracy… depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear,” Obama intoned with high-minded gravitas.
Well less than 24 hours later when a fearless young Syrian journalist went out to practice Obama’s principles, he was cut down by American-backed terrorists on the streets of Damascus.
Thanks to the courage of Maya Naser, the world is given a far more accurate view of the violence bearing down on Syria. While the supposed august Western media organizations have displayed the most pathetic servile dependency on Western governments, Maya actually lived, fulfilled and died for the principles of truthful, independent journalism. His journalism empowers people to make accurate judgments and to determine the truth of violence and who the perpetrators are. May he now rest in peace.
Finian Cunningham is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in journalism. He specialises in Middle East and East Africa issues.